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Anna Skinner Oct 2019
What if we as women quit the
“what if’s” and “but when’s” and “except he’s”
and left him the first time we felt a rock drop in our bellies?

I whipped the trash bag into its receptacle today,
worthlessness disguised as anger, and
reapplied my make up three times because
being late is the same as saying you don’t want me

Or I’m not good enough to race against the type of woman
you’re used to.

I think of the ways I used to shame myself when this happened before, when a boy I loved didn’t mind enough
to love me back the same way,
or at all,
but this time, I don’t reach for a blade
I sip a drink -- a daughter takes after her father.

I use essential oils with scents of
emotions I pray to feel --
scents like “uplifting” and “serene” and “relax”

Is there an essential oil the flavor of “*******”?
Because that seems to be the only way I feel lately –
roiling and ready for a fight,
jaw clenched tight
against the taste of your name.
Anna Skinner Jun 2019
bodies familiar in the hues
of a dying day
in the shadows, in the shade
blacks and grays,
indigos and jades

whispers muted in the last
gasps of light
our language,
words knit into the night
our vision, monochromatic --
your breaths,
the moon,
my static
Anna Skinner Apr 2019
october 6, 2018
was a day for wearing white,
supposed to be his bride
instead, I’m alone
in a new home,
watching an Indian summer go by –
robin’s egg skies, and
emerald hills

i wish it was raining instead

october sixth was supposed to be
navy and cream,
stargazer lilies, and a
backyard wedding in
southern indiana woods
where leaves the color of blood,
wept with all our loved ones
paving the way of our future

a prologue: dates to the theater,
foamy beer,
sticky dance floors,
loud words and hate,
a home together, destined to fall
and the secrets stuck
like dust

sometimes, the devil hides behind the shadows of love

now, i wake up alone,
in my new home
to the songs of doves,
the morning is for mourning,
i like to think they’re singing for me

i cradle the mug in my hands,
listen to the birds
and the words,
a song i wrote and sing to myself,

the chorus, it goes like this:
“you’re safe now”
Anna Skinner Apr 2019
i know every corner in this place --
from house-made mocha
the pastel pastries and
speckled mugs

to the weight of the space you take
behind the counter

your fingers brush mine
steam on styrofoam
and a smile so soft --
all espresso eyes and smooth jazz
the grind of the beans and your laugh:
my soundtrack

it's the coffee bringing me to this place,
it's the caffeine that makes me shake,
it can't be your brown eyes
keeping me awake
Anna Skinner Mar 2019
Like a dove's mournful cry
echoing across fresh dew,

Like a shadowy silhouette
against a steady sunset,

Like the way I marry my
coffee and cream,

Like the way a book's pages
flutter between my fingers

You are --

A burst of spring,
A given hand,
A warm embrace,
History in the making,

Yet perhaps,
Like a jolt of blue lightning
striking across my midnight sky,

You are ephemeral
in your ties to me
Anna Skinner Mar 2019
Learn to lead from the rear,
a constant silhouette
against a steady sunset.
But back here,
there’s so much to fear,
and too much to feel.
So I sit, scared of the silence.
this is what depression feels like
Anna Skinner Mar 2019
Your eyes are lit low,
at dusk, like liquid gold.
There’s heavy silence,
your words come slow.

But, can you just hold on?
let’s wait until the dawn,
let sunlight touch your promise.
What if this goes all wrong?

Your fingertips play my spine,
you swear things will be fine.
I turn into you,
already, you feel like mine.

Your arms protect me,
your eyes, they set me free,
your lips promise forever,
Don’t you ever leave.
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